Producer: Just Blaze
When Just Blaze first played Jay Electronica's “Exhibit C” on Sirius Satellite Radio, the rap world stood still. Over one of the producer's trademark soulful instrumentals, Jay Electronica—one of the most mysterious rappers ever—blacked out, spitting heartfelt autobiographical rhymes tracking his journey from homeless vagabond to lyrical messiah.
Initially, the song was only available as a radio rip, which actually added to its appeal. Legendary radio host Mr. Magic had recently died, so Just Blaze kept adding Mr. Magic drops during the live broadcast. Plus, he brought the record back after after the lyrical orgasim of, “They call me Jay Electronica/Fuck that, call me Jay Elec-Hannukah/Jay Elec-Yarmulke/Jay Elect-Ramadaan Muhammad Asalaamica/Rasoul Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala through your monitor.”
The radio rip had a vintage feel that brought back memories of the days when hip-hop fans would stay up late with their tape decks ready, salivating to hear their favorite rap song on the radio. All of this contributed to the the belief that Jay Elec might be the one chosen to take hip-hop back to the essence.
Although he has yet to fulfill that promise and drop that masterful album (or really, any collection of new material) “Exhibit C” remains an unforgettable moment in hip-hop. It was a lyrical exercise that cut through the clutter in an era that's sometimes defined by rappers snapping, singing, and doing anything but rapping well. The song stands as a welcome reminder of why we all loved hip-hop in the first place.